HHS Secretary Tom Price met Wednesday with patient advocacy groups to discuss options for reducing drug prices, participants in the meeting told BioCentury. Price told the patient advocates that the Trump administration is planning to act quickly on the president’s promises to slash prescription drug prices dramatically.
“This is not going to be a three-year project,” Price said, according to a participant. The patient participants did not want to be identified, and HHS declined to comment about the meeting.
Patient advocates discussed the “financial toxicity” associated with high drug prices, co-pays and deductibles. At least one group, the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition, told Price it advocated Medicare drug price negotiations, a policy Trump has championed.
Representatives from the National Health Council, an umbrella group representing patients with chronic diseases, presented a framework for reducing healthcare costs. The NHC is funded largely by biopharmaceutical companies and trade associations, and has governance rules requiring that a majority of its board members be CEOs of patient groups (see BioCentury, April 27).
Friends of Cancer Research focused its presentation on FDA’s role in reducing drug costs, including its ability to approve generics and to increase competition by approving multiple drugs in a therapeutic class.
Other groups that participated in the meeting included the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; JDRF, which represents patients with Type I diabetes; the American Diabetes Association; and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Price is slated to meet Wednesday with PhRMA and representatives of groups that distribute financial assistance to help patients afford drugs. The meeting will focus on drug co-pay coupons and patient assistance programs.